Guardian journalist, Paul Farrell, has penned a terrifying report describing how he was able to contact the trader and, after providing his full name and birth date, buy his own Medicare details for around $22.
The vendor providing this ‘service’ is named ‘the Medicare machine’ and claims to ‘exploit a vulnerability’ in the security network surrounding the Medicare details of Australians.
Alan Tudge, the Australian Minister for Human Services, has asked the Federal Police to open an investigation into the case.
‘Claims made in the Guardian newspaper that Medicare card numbers are able to be purchased on the dark web are being taken seriously by the government and are under investigation,’ he said, reports The Guardian.
‘These claims have also been referred to the Australian federal police.’
While the Medicare numbers themselves do no provide enough information to access patient records, they do however represent a risk of identity theft.
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‘They are valuable to organised crime groups, because they allow them to produce fake physical Medicare cards with legitimate information that can then be used for identification fraud,’ explains Farrell.
‘These identification cards have been used by drug syndicates to buy goods and lease or buy property or cars. The card details could also be used to defraud the government of Medicare rebates.’